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Argus Upgrades Sun Life Financial To Buy

  • The share price of Sun Life Financial Inc (NYSE: SLF) has declined 13.87 percent year-to-date, from a high of 36.06 on December 31, 2014.
  • Argus' Stephen Biggar has upgraded the rating on the company from Hold to Buy, with a price target of $37.
  • The upgrade in the rating is based on the recent weakness in the share price, as well as the increased earnings estimates for 2015 and 2016.

Analyst Stephen Biggar mentioned that Sun Life's earnings “can be volatile, reflecting turbulence in underlying investment portfolio holdings and the impact of currency repatriation, but in our view the high yield provides an offset.”

The company has also been witnessing improvements in its Asian and U.S. businesses. However, the stock has declined 9.1 percent over the past quarter, as compared to the 4.1 percent decline in the S&P 500. The stock has also underperformed over the past year.

Sun Life reported its 3Q15 results on November 4, with underlying net income from continuing operations at $528 million or $0.86 per share. The EPS increased 2 percent from the year-ago period but missed the consensus expectations.

The underlying ROW of 12.5 percent for the quarter was in-line with the guidance of 12-13 percent.

“On December 2, Sun Life announced that it would increase its stake in Birla Sun Life Insurance, based in India, to 49 percent. The C$340 million deal is expected to close in 1Q16,” Biggar mentioned.

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